WAIALUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A plaque at the entrance to the office at Waialua Elementary School thanks companies that helped with a campus project. Monsanto Hawaii and three other firms built a cultural garden. The plaque acknowledges that.
"It's not like we're trying to promote anybody," principal Scott Moore said. "We just appreciate the help that they give us and wanted to say thank you."
Monsanto also helped Waialua's bicycle safety program. The company sent a form to parents asking for permission to use their child's photos in its publications.
"I think two things are most concerning to me, the first being the use of the children's image in advertising. The second is the fact that they say on the form that you're agreeing that every statement you make is true. But they also have the ability to edit that statement," parent Colleen Chapman said.
Monsanto Hawaii vice president John Purcell said the pictures would go on the company's Facebook page.
"This is creating awareness about some really amazing things that are happening in our community, which is great for our employees, they're very proud of that. But it's also great for the efforts that are going on," he said.
But Hawaii Center for Food Safety director Ashley Lukens feels Monsanto is trying to sway parent's opinion about pesticide use.
"You have to look at the context within which a simple donation to a school, a simple media release form. It doesn't taste right to the parents whose children are potentially at risk of pesticide drift," she said.
Purcell said parents aren't required to sign the release forms.
"It is voluntary,' he said. "If you're not feeling comfortable we respect that."
The permission slip has now prompted some parents to start a petition drive to end Monsanto's involvement with Waialua Elementary.